Facebook is a fantastic tool for church workers. It allows us to interact with our members and communities outside our church walls in ways that we never could. While Facebook is extremely helpful and easy to use, we church workers can sometimes make some common mistakes that can be easily avoided with some prior thought.
When posting to Facebook, or any social medium for that matter, it is key to consider your audience prior to hitting ‘publish’. Who will be reading your post? Who is the message for? Does it make sense to post communication specifically to the youth group when your youth are not using Facebook? What about the Senior Adult Bible Study? What other forms of communication would work better.
When we don’t consider our audience and post frequent irrelevant messages, we begin to sound like the teacher on Charlie Brown, and people start ignoring us. If our messages do not pertain to them, so they start tuning us out.
To truly gain benefit from using Facebook, you must use it. If your church is only posting once or twice per week chances are people are not seeing your posts, let alone engaging with them.
At the beginning of each week make a plan of what posts will be published to your social media streams. Brainstorm ideas for reoccurring posts (#MotivationalMonday, #FlashBackFriday, etc.). Keep your Page fresh and updated—daily. Create a calendar so you can see the week and even month in its entirety. Need some inspiration on planning posts? Whenever possible schedule what posts you can in advance to help spread out the workload.
Don’t be in such a hurry that you forget to read through your posts a couple times prior to publishing. Mistakes happen, believe me I’ve had some pretty humorous typos, but we should try our best to offer our best. That means slowing down, checking our grammar and spelling, and verifying links.
Responding to your community is extremely important. If someone takes the time to interact with your page or message your organization, please make it a priority to respond. Your organization will be conveying that you value your community, their thoughts and concerns, and ultimately them.
Unless you are sharing a touching story, keep it short. People may enjoy reading a couple paragraphs about your mission trip adventures; however, they won’t be interested if it’s a list of your weekly schedule. Limit your posts to a few sentences and if needed, send them to your website for more information—or consider posting as a blog post.
You should never have the word ‘I’ in your organization’s posts. As a church or ministry, we should avoid talking in singular 1st Person, as it is confusing for readers to understand the perspective and voice. As a caveat, I do believe it is perfectly fine to talk in singular 1st Person if a staff member is responding to a comment or message—just make sure to offer a signature at the end (replied by: Jenn).
When using stock photos and other artist’s graphic art, it is irresponsible and sometimes illegal to disregard copyright laws. Please take the time to research all copyright information for the images and graphics you post on social media.
It can be a daunting task to track parental consents when using images of minors, but I cannot stress the importance of enacting and enforcing procedures enough.
When people visit your Facebook Page they do not want to see stock photos of posed families. They want to see the people of your congregation, their friends, and their church family. Make your Facebook Page personalized. Give it some character. Show people who you are as a church.
I doubt many people want to see 64 pictures, many duplicates, from the Christmas Cantata. Pick a dozen or so that are stellar shots and invest the time to create enticing captions.
For other helpful ideas and topics, visit the CTS Blog Technology & Your Ministry.